Schindlers, Kevorkian Discuss Schiavo Case

ByABC News via via logo

March 25, 2005 — -- Time is running out for the family of Terri Schiavo.

A federal judge in Florida today refused an emergency request made by the brain-damaged woman's parents to order the reinsertion of her feeding tube. The Schindlers then asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to review the ruling.

As of Friday morning, Schiavo, 41, has been without food or water for almost seven days, and her father and sister say they can see the difference in her condition.

"She's starting to get very shallow," Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, said this morning on "Good Morning America." "You can see it's taking an impact on her."

Schiavo has been showing signs of dehydration, which include flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, and sunken eyes, family members have told The Associated Press. Doctors say Schiavo could probably survive a week or two without food or water.

Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, said watching her sister deteriorate has been "gut-wrenching" for the family. "I can't imagine any family member having to sit back and watch this happen to somebody that you love," Vitadamo said on "Good Morning America."

Vitadamo also lashed out at Michael Schiavo, who has petitioned to have his wife's feeding tube detached, saying that is what Terri wanted.

"Michael is gonna portray Terri as a vegetable, that's what we keep hearing. Terri is very much alive," said Vitadamo.

Despite the latest setback, Schiavo's relatives said they won't give up their fight to have her feeding tube reinserted.

"I'll never stop fighting because it's something that's wrong, it's evil," said Schindler.

One voice that's been absent from the debate on this case has been Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who is serving 10 to 25 years in prison for his role in the death of a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian hasn't done an interview in nearly six years, but spoke by phone today to "Good Morning America."

Kevorkian, who claims he helped more than 100 terminally ill people commit suicide, told ABC News he is "dismayed" by the Schiavo case and the hypocrisy of politicians getting involved.

"What bothers me is the bit of hypocrisy in all of this," said Kevorkian. "When the president and the Congress get involved because life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs, they don't say anything about the men on death row, and their lives are just as precious."

But Kevorkian does believe some good can come from the debate over people's end-of-life wishes.

"One thing, it has raised the issue, and many more people would be willing to face it and discuss with families and society in general," he said.

Kevorkian, 76, won't be up for parole until at least 2007. After years of rejecting book and movie offers, he has given the go-ahead for projects to begin, but he says he will not benefit financially from any project based on his life.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events